Tag Archives: self-help

The Four Elements of Thinking

While searching for something else I chanced upon “The Four Elements of Thinking: Reasoning, Creativity, Synthesis, Evaluation” by Benjamin Cheung, Ph.D., published in 2019. Any book about the four classical elements being used as metaphors for other things is of personal interest, plus that the things being four aspects of thinking was immediately intriguing. Dr. Cheung divides thinking into the four aspects of the subtitle, plus he divides each aspect into four sub-aspects or skills as follows:

    • Reasoning (Earth Thinking)
      • Evidence
      • Inductive Reasoning
      • Deductive Reasoning
      • Abductive Reasoning
    • Creativity (Air Thinking)
      • Investigation
      • Incubation
      • Insight
      • Innovation
    • Synthesis (Water Thinking)
      • Linking
      • Perspective
      • Synthesis
      • Pivots
    • Evaluation (Fire Thinking)
      • Decisions
      • Judgments
      • Contingency Plans
      • Validation

Note his choice in assignment of the Classical Four Elements to each of these aspects of thinking. I would have assigned them differently: Reasoning to Fire, Creativity to Earth, Synthesis to Air, and Evaluation to Water. The price of the e-book is reasonable, so I may investigate the “thinking” behind his alignments by purchasing and reading further.

He also has an interesting book on collections of ideas which he arranges into a “periodic table,” which might be analogous to a more modern scientific elemental assignment. Additionally, he has had Kickstarters on playing or flash cards for both books, which is a notion somewhat dear to my heart (See A Game of Fourfolds).

I have mentioned thinking or thought often in this blog, and believe that poor thinking or irrational thinking is greatly to blame for many of our current ills. Blame can also be attributed to poor communication skills. The best thinking can be obscured by poor communication. What is the best theory of the linkage between thought and language?

Further Reading:

Benjamin Cheung, Ph. D. / The Four Elements of Thinking: Reasoning, Creativity, Synthesis, Evaluation

Link to Amazon




I Dare You!

In 1931, William H. Danforth published the book “I Dare You! Four fold development: stand tall, think tall, smile tall, and live tall.” Perhaps he is better remembered as the founder of the Ralston Purina Company, maker of many fine products and particularly of Chex Cereals. Indeed, Danforth saw life as a type of checkerboard, such that four key components (or “squares”) – the mental, the physical, the social, and the religious – needed to be in balance in order to achieve fulfillment and success in life.

His book was the expression of his personal philosophy of “Four-square” personal development, and was a early example of the “self-help” style of book that has become so popular. Success! Fulfillment! So much can become yours if you take chances and work hard. If only life was that simple! His four aspects of personal development are

  • Physical: Stand Tall!
  • Mental: Think Tall!
  • Social: Smile Tall!
  • Spiritual: Live Tall!

Further Reading:


William H. Danforth / I Dare You! Only $1 in Kindle format from Amazon! Worth every penny! Don’t delay, buy today!



The Johari Window


As I considered my last post, I wondered if the intersecting centers of all my diagrams represented a “blind spot”, a fifth thing that I have been consistently overlooking. Searching on Google for the topic (besides finding the new television show of the same name), I stumbled on the Johari Window.

The Johari Window is a simple four-fold table that considers what an individual knows and doesn’t know about herself, versus what everyone else knows or doesn’t know.

So, the quadrants are as follows:

Hidden self: Known by self but unknown by others (also called facade)

Public self: Known by self and known by others (also called open or free area, or arena)

Blind self: Unknown by self but known by others (also called blind spot)

Unknown self: Unknown by self and others (unknown but perhaps knowable, also unconscious)

The idea is that the public self can enlarge, and include things from all three of the other selves, and so diminish them. Because having more openness in our selves, as well as less hiddenness, blind-spotness, and unknownness, is a good thing.

And I’m glad the blind spot is really just one of the four things of the Johari Window, so I haven’t left anything out!



Images for Johari Window


Also remember “The Blind Spot: lectures on logic” by Jean-Yves Girard.